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Special consideration, access arrangements and malpractice statistics released

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Ofqual has today, Wednesday 30th October, published its annual statistics on special consideration, access arrangements and malpractice for the summer 2013 examinations.

The statistics cover GCSE, AS and A levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland provided by the six awarding organisations; AQA, CCEA, Pearson, OCR, WJEC and ICAAE.

This year the statistics show a reduction in both the number of candidates requesting access arrangements and the number that received penalties for malpractice. The number of requests for special consideration has increased by 13 per cent.

Glenys Stacey, Chief Regulator said: “Although most of this year’s figures remain relatively similar to last year, we will be looking in more detail at those significant differences in access arrangements and special considerations.

“Last year we identified some concern around the high number of requests received for extra time and as a result JCQ published new requirements based on the evidence needed to support applications. I think the ten per cent drop we can see this year reflects these tighter restrictions, and we can be more confident in the arrangements.

“That said, there has been a further increase in special considerations, continuing the general trend of increases over the last four years. We will meet with exam boards and others, and review the evidence we can obtain so as to get to the root causes.

“Although malpractice figures remain consistent with last year’s, malpractice remains a big concern. It is not always identified, and identified malpractice is not always or reported, so the figures cannot ever present a complete picture. Where we can we are reducing the opportunities for malpractice, so as to protect standards.”

Key points from the statistics include:


  • Penalties issued to candidates remained consistent with last year- 2,590 issued in the summer 2013 exam series (which represents 0.019 per cent of the total papers marked) compared with 2,550 in summer 2012.
  • There were 97 penalties issued to school and college staff. This represents a 62 per cent increase on last year, but is down four per cent when compared with 2011.
  • There were 135 penalties issued to schools and colleges- this represents a four per cent increase on 2012.

Access Arrangements

  • A total of 154,800 candidates made applications for access arrangements in the 2012/13 academic year, down ten per cent on 2011/12.
  • The most frequently granted access arrangement, up to 25 per cent extra time, saw a 13 per cent reduction in the number of approvals compared with 2011/12.
  • You can download the Access arrangements report here.

Special Considerations

  • Requests increased by 13 per cent on last year, from 365,900 in 2012 to 415,200 in 2013.
  • Under three per cent of all exam papers received approval for special consideration – 374,700 approved requests in 2013, compared with 341,500 in 2012: a ten per cent increase.
  • You can download the Special consideration report here.


General stats from the summer 2013 summer series (England, Wales and Northern Ireland):

  • More than 2.4 million AS and A level certifications were awarded
  • More than 6 million GCSE certifications were awarded in England, Wales and Northern Ireland